Quebec bar association: fight to improve Nunavik justice system continues
“This report is not about the people, but about the system itself”
This in reference to the article “We want change to Nunavik’s justice system, Quebec Bar Association says” published September 2016, in Nunatsiaq Online.
On Sept. 16, 2016, on behalf of the Quebec Bar, I had the opportunity to make a presentation to the members of the Kativik Regional Government council.
Six months have elapsed since that meeting held to present the Quebec Bar’s report on the state of justice in the North and to provide some comments and recommendations.
At the outset, I would like to thank all the individuals and organizations who have agreed to meet with the Quebec Bar and to generously provide extremely important information and testimony to the development of this report. They were more than 100 and are identified in the introduction of the report.
On the other hand, it is important to point out that the Quebec Bar’s report, although critical, is drafted in order to provide constructive insight into the justice system offered to northern Quebec communities.
Therefore, this report is not about the people, but about the system itself. It can not overshadow the remarkable but often misunderstood work done by the judges of the travelling courts, and more particularly those of the Court of Quebec.
I am a witness of their relentless efforts to try to improve access to justice and the justice system, in spite of too often limited means. Thank you to the judges of the Court and continue the work that has begun.
The same comment applies to both the Crown and defence lawyers, including the legal aid lawyers. Their means are limited and they work too often in difficult conditions. This has a significant impact on the often bitter impression their excellent work can give to community members, clients, defendants, and victims.
In this context, it is important to continue to fight for the improvement of the system while benefiting from the experience of all the players in the legal world of the Far North.
I am also encouraged by the fact that since our last visit the federal and provincial governments seem to have understood the urgent need to act both on the call for reconciliation and on the level of the injection of personnel and subsidies with the common goal of improving justice, so dear to our democracy.
The problems of northern Quebec have more than ever been listened to attentively by our governments, and more particularly by the minister of justice of Quebec.
This issue will not be settled quickly, but I still hope that every little step will lead to a big step toward a better world.
Together, let us continue our vigil and let’s give ourselves an appointment in 2017.
Bernard Synnott, Ad. E.
Barreau du Québec
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